Tag Archives: DIY

A Vintage Festival Wedding…in the Rain!: Natasha & Charlie

Natasha & Charlie are the kind of couple that wedding photographers dream of – creative, unique in their inspiration and totally in love. The bride told me all about their vintage festival wedding. It may have rained for their outdoor ceremony, but it certainly didn’t damper their spirits!

“Even though I had prayed for months for sun on our wedding day, it still rained! I thought that this would ruin the day as everything we had planned involved being outside – including the ceremony. Just before we were due to go down, the wedding organiser at Maunsel House said that it was raining and tried to convince me to move everything inside. But I couldn’t bare the thought of not getting married under the beautiful bandstand as this had been my dream from the start – so I made everyone stand outside with umbrellas! It actually turned out really well and everybody loved it – the pictures of everyone with umbrellas looked great as well!”

“Even though we are from London we both knew that we wanted to celebrate our big day somewhere further afield,” the bride continued. “We are also huge music festival fans so the idea of a festival-style, open air wedding was really appealing for us. We saw about 5 places before we finally settled on Maunsel House. With a licensed bandstand set in the grounds for wedding ceremonies and a roofed Pergola for outside dining, it totally fitted the bill for our outdoorsy festival theme.”

“We really wanted the wedding styling to reflect our personalities and our love of vintage things, so we began trawling car boot sales for trinkets and props to start creating the look.” Natasha continued. “As an alternative to the standard marquee uplighting, we bought loads of cheap old lampshades in different colours and shapes to hang from the centre of our marquee. We lit some with bulbs and others with fairy lights creating a vintage living room effect.”

“I also found a beautiful 1950’s record player on eBay which we set up in the main hall playing ‘The Sound of Music’ soundtrack to guests as they arrived. Instead of a table and traditional guestbook, we hired an old 1920’s bureau from The Little Wedding Helper and put a typewriter on there with a typed welcome letter to our guests. Kirsten, our wedding helper styled it beautifully with our vintage books and telephone as well as some flowers and luggage tags for our guests to write messages to us.”

“We used old scrabble sets to create our table names which were all based on the different festivals we had been to over the years and the walkways were adorned with hundreds of metres of vintage style bunting made by myself, my mum and my mother-in-law. We also made satin bows from the left-over bunting material to decorate the wedding cake (a delicious cake of cheese!) and little jars of home-made chutney for our wedding favours. My mother-in-law sketched a lovely drawing of the garden bandstand (where we had the ceremony) for the cover of our Order of Service booklets and we included poems and readings, as well as the words to our our Elton John and Kiki Dee Sing-a-long.”

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A DIY Thrift Store Explosion: James & Renee

James & Renee’s eclectic thrift store explosion of a wedding was a real DIY effort from the couple and their friends & family. The bride, who couldn’t stand the thought of a “boring, traditional wedding” explained her vision to me, “I could not stand the idea of a boring traditional wedding and reception with only two colors & every table was the same so I did everything my way. No one understood my vision until we set up the morning of the wedding & it all came together.”

“I spent all my time at thrift stores and swap meets picking out anything I liked whether it was a beautiful vintage fabric, a teacup with a winking face on it, or a floral painted ceramic cat. I love anything with a sense of humor & that’s interesting to look at. I’m so thankful we stuck to our vision & managed to pull off a vegetarian wedding with no DJ, dance floor, alcohol (subbed in vintage glass bottled sodas), wedding colors, or real flowers because to have everyone not only ‘get it’ but to say that they absolutely loved it & were so impressed I will always truly cherish. The look of surprise on everyone’s face & the high praise & compliments mean so much to us because this was such a labor of love and there was a piece of us in every little detail.”

The ceremony was held at the beautiful La Mesa Community Center Gardens, with the DIY reception following at Nan Couts Cottage. “Making everything is a lot of work but I’m so thankful we did it,” the bride continued. “It made it all so personal. Some of my fondest memories are the Sunday’s that myself & the females in the family would spend together making things for the wedding.”

“One Sunday we made a couple hundred feet of bunting & I had two aunts cutting out all the triangles, a cousin ironing them, & I sat at my sewing machine for a few hours sewing each one on & meanwhile my grandma was making pinwheels and another cousin was making the props for the photobooth. It was not only crazy efficient but a fun way to spend a Sunday and get creative minds working together.”

“The dessert trays were thrifted plates & tea cups stacked together & held together with epoxy glue. So quick & easy to make! I painted our cake toppers that were little wooden dolls purchased on Etsy. Each flower was made by hand by wrapping crepe paper around green floral wire, held together with tape & glue. The flower balls were made by making the flowers shorter stemmed and sticking them into a styrofoam ball. We made the chalk boards for the photobooth by spray painting chalk paint on the glass of an old picture frame. I also made about a hundred flower pins by sewing together different fabrics cut into flower shapes with a button in the center glued onto a bobby pin for favors for the ladies & used plyers to flatten out the edges of vintage bottle caps & glued pins on the back for the guys.”

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A Rolling Stones Rock n Roll Circus: Nicola & David

Nicola & David were married on Halloween weekend in The Hospitium in York (England’s most haunted city apparently!) The venue is in the middle of the Museum Gardens and in the shadow of the ruins of St. Mary’s Abbey. The unusual setting was the perfect backdrop for their Rolling Stone Circus wedding.

Nicola explained, “We’re both massive Rolling Stones fans so we wanted to have the same type of feel as The Rolling Stones Rock n Roll Circus. Slightly carnival like with a serious nod to music. We drew the line at stilt walkers, jugglers and such, though I did very much want a peacock and an elephant. Surprisingly there are no ‘hire a peacock’ websites. Even less chance with the elephant.”

“We’re both also 60’s fans in that we love the music, films, fashion and whole esthetic of the 60’s. The 60’s had to feature pretty heavily without getting into the shark infested territories that are 60’s fancy dress and theme type ideas. Our clothes, house and furnishings, books, music and films are mostly 60’s so we’re not the weekend warriors that could get away with hiring the local scooter club to park up outside the venue for the day. We ensured that all the music would have something like an obscure garage or psych track for us and then a Motown or 60’s pop track for the family. We even threw in a bit of 90’s Britpop for the old school mates. We also put together a two hour DVD of 60’s film, adverts, music, dance, fashion and telly clips. If the guests didn’t like the sounds, there was definitely something for them to see there.”

“I have always loved Eastern esthetic from Indian to Moroccan to Oriental,” the bride continued. “We knew that it somehow had to play a part in the day, especially since it got a serious introduction to the Western World in the late 60’s. There were bits of it everywhere from the beading pattern on my dress to the table runners, to the stationery, to some of the music and visuals and definitely the belly dancers! Also, since the wedding was going to be in late October and we both love the Autumn we wanted to somehow incorporate our love of rich vibrant bold colour into the wedding.”

Both the bride & groom 100% looked the part for their impeccably themed wedding. Nicola wore a wedding dress which she had made by House of Mooshki (“I looked at hundreds of vintage dresses and some were stunning but asking to find a later 60’s ode to Hammer Horror/Celtic/Grecian/Medieval/Indian hybrid in ivory and gold that fit me was literally impossible”) and a headpiece by Lindsay Fleming Couture (“it was a slightly medieval looking circlet type thingie from with flowers threaded through. Sorry, just can’t use the word tiara. It conjures up all sorts of Katie Price images. Then I need a valium.”) The groom wore a suit made by George Lilley of Kristoffers in Leeds, inspired by a suit worn by Brian Jones in a Rolling Stones picture book.

The reception was styled and decorated by the couple themselves. They wanted it to totally be their vision. “We did everything. We sourced every idea we had, researched where to get stuff and the best options and gathered the lot ourselves. Our garage now looks like a car boot sale on acid.”

“In the ceremony room which was red, purple and gold we simply found four different types of tea light holders on eBay and we put them everywhere there was space. We found purple and gold cushion covers also on eBay which went perfectly with the red cushion covers already in the venue on the window ledges. In the reception room we had Indian silk table runners with psychedelic patterns on them in the ten different colours. Also from an Indian seller on eBay. We had black wire lantern/candle holders with a coloured candle in the centre and we had the same type of smaller hanging lantern/tea light holders on stands as our favours. We wanted people to be able to take something home, put it in their house and maybe think of us when they lit the candle in it. We also had psychedelic and retro patterned chocolate initials in the guests’ first initial rather than ours.”

The most important thing to the couple was that they had their wedding for them and that they ignored the things that they were informed they should do because it was a wedding. “We met with an amount of resistance from people when we told them some of our ideas,” the bride concluded. “Firstly, this was David’s day as much as it was mine. It was OUR wedding, not just my day. We decided that David would walk down the aisle to a song he chose. His groomsman, then his best man, then his parents and then David all walked down the aisle to ‘Change Is Now’ by The Byrds. It was then my turn. As the Stones ‘She’s a Rainbow’ came on, I walked down with my TWO Dad’s (who high fived each other!) after my bridesmaid, my best friend and my Mum (who was my maid of honour). I don’t know who makes the so called rules about how things are done, but I wasn’t very interested in abiding by them.”

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A Pretty Vintage Islington Wedding: Cecilia & Robert

Cecilia & Robert’s pretty London wedding took place at Union Chapel and Union Hall, Islington.

“At first we had to decide where to have our wedding as I’m from Italy and Robert London,” Cecilia wrote to me. “We soon realised that London was the perfect place, as it’s where we’ve chosen to live and where we definitely wanted to start our life as a family. We started looking at a few venues, but they all looked a bit impersonal and soulless to us, we definitely wanted somewhere that would have a meaning for us and our relationship. And so that’s how we “stumbled” upon the Union Chapel. Rob had been there several times to see gigs, and we had been together to see a very special acoustic performance by Editors. Many people think it’s not an actual church, but it actually is – and it made perfect sense to us to get married there!”

“We were also delighted to find out that – apart from the main auditorium – they have several spaces for hire that can be used for all sorts of events. The Upper Hall fitted the bill perfectly, as it’s a completely blank canvas that we would be able to personalize according to our own taste.”

Cecilia wore a vintage dress from Fur Coat No Knickers. “Being only 5 ft 1’ and quite curvy, I was dreading the idea of going wedding dress shopping as I knew what is available in ‘traditional’ wedding dress shops simply wouldn’t look good on me and would undoubtedly knock my confidence. Then one day in a shop just off Brick Lane I saw a beautiful prom-style short dress and that’s when I knew that would be the style I would go for. But it wasn’t until I went to the National Wedding Show at Earl’s Court and discovered Fur Coat No Knickers that the whole ‘vintage’ thing started to incredibly appeal to me, so I went to see the fabulous Laura & Emma about 9 months before the wedding. Laura insisted we had ‘a little play’ and she picked a dress for me to try on first. As soon as I saw myself in the mirror I went ‘oh my god!!!’– I simply couldn’t believe how amazing it made me look!. I also picked a stunning necklace from FCNK, which complemented the pearl earrings my mum gave me for my 31st birthday.”

“We had quite a few DIY projects that we completed thanks to the invaluable help of our friends and family”, the bride continued when I asked about their reception details. “We did our wedding invites ourselves, Rob designed the London skyline that became a sort of ‘fil rouge’ throughout our wedding, and created the actual invites around it. We also handmade our jam jar wedding favours and the little sugar almonds bows. Rob’s brilliant sister Anne (who also made my hair on the day!) and her husband Kevin made most of the plum and peach jam, whereas the jars were provided by my mum, who works for a glassware manufacturer. Anne and Kevin also made the spiced apple and onion chutney that was served together with our cheese cake!”

“We were on a tight budget so we knew we could not afford a traditional seated meal for all our 80 guests. This, combined with the vintage feel we wanted to give to our wedding after I chose my dress (and, I admit it, my love of cakes), convinced us we should go for a traditional English afternoon tea party. After all the cakes and sweet treats, we thought that having a traditional wedding cake would not make any sense. That together with Rob’s absolute love for cheese convinced us that we had to go for a cheese cake! We purchased the cheeses (Cornish Yarg, Stichelton, Italian Caciotta, Coeur Neufchatel and Crottin de Chavignol) from the fantastic La Fromagerie in Highbury – a real treasure trove for all cheese lovers!! The cake was decorated with cherry tomatoes on the vine and black grapes, and was served with our homemade chutney and artisan bread sticks.”

“I have to say,” concluded the bride, “that although we put all our efforts into organizing this wedding while being on a budget, trawling all the wedding blogs out there and trying to do as many things as possible ourselves, we couldn’t have done anything without all the amazing suppliers we met along the way, who really surpassed themselves on the actual day.”

“Although the months of planning were quite stressful, we were very absolutely over the moon with the result, because we managed to stay true to ourselves and incorporate all the things that really mattered for us in our day. We wanted our guests to experience something personal and different, and we wanted those who had travelled across Europe to be there to really feel it was worth it – and their happy faces were the best reward for us! So my advice to those planning their wedding now is just this – be true to yourself and do things with your heart!”

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A DIY 1940’s Carnival Wedding: Marcie & Rich

Marcie & Rich’s Nerdy DIY wedding was inspired by the things they love. The couple love to hang out at home with cat and dog playing video or board games and reading so the wedding theme kind of stemmed from these ideas.

“I think our inspiration for doing things the way we did was that we didn’t want the same old same old”, Marcie told me. “We’ve both been to tons of weddings where the details were essentially the same but for a few differences. People tend to do the long church ceremony with the long gown that you would never want to wear again and make a bunch of stuff for the guests that they will never use or even want just because you saw that tiny beer stein in a craft store and thought it was perfect cause you like beer. We wanted people to have fun all the way through, including ourselves! We would much rather have a swinging party and get married in the middle of it than the other way around.”

“Our ‘theme’ was loosely based on a 1940’s style Carnival. I love the time period and we both wanted a theme that would allow us to have games for our guests and fun retro style clothing and accessories.”

The wedding took place at Heritage Hall, Vancouver British Columbia, Canada. “The Hall is this great building that used to be many things in the past and is now a rentable hall,” the bride continued. “Loads of crafty-type fairs happen here and that is how I came to hear of it in the first place. It has a huge clock tower and is located in Mount Pleasant which is a funky area filled with small locally owned shops. The look of the building and the area made a perfect place to rent. Didn’t hurt that it was far more reasonably priced than any ‘wedding hall rental’ places in Vancouver and we were allowed to do things our own way.”

Marie wore a dress by Peppermint Pretty, shoes by Fluevog and a headpiece that she made herself. Both she and her bridesmaids also wore jewellery by Wicked Minky. “I wanted a tea length dress because I have never understood why people buy these amazing shoes only to cover them up with a huge long dress. I was also very keen to get something that was a bit retro. I have been in love with 1940’s, 50’s and 60’s styles since I was little and a dress without a crinoline was not an option! I also wanted something that I could cut a rug in and not trip and fall on my face. When I dance, I go all out so the fewer restrictions the better! I fell in love with this dress straight off the bat. Erin Coleman was amazing and made something that fit me perfectly and all I did was send in my measurements. I did not want to go into a bridal shop at all and I didn’t. Most have a posh vibe that I don’t appreciate and they never seem to have anything that isn’t all along the same line of design. I find it both intimidating and boring.”

Many of the other wedding details were DIY including the bride and her bridesmaid’s bouquets, the ‘popcorn’ cupcakes (made by Marcie’s cousin Allison who owns a bakery), all the stationery and the majority of the reception decor and props.

“We made all the bunting hanging around the reception out of old thrift store sheets cut up and strung together, as well as the centrepieces. These were thrift store vases filled with tons of gum balls to hold up the Whirly Pops, handmade pin wheels, felt moustaches on sticks made by Maro Designs, and flags to name the table. We went with song names and made a game out of people winning a drink token if they were the first one to come up to the DJ when their table song was played.”

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